SFU Beedie School of Business Mentorship Program

Congratulations to Marissa Elliott for receiving the Outstanding Mentor Award from the SFU Beedie School of Business!  

 At Capital Core Financial, we believe it is important to “pay it forward” whenever possible.  Our success as individuals and as a company is owed in part to the support from our community and those that have mentored us along the way.  

 Thank you to Tracy Li , who is completing her masters in the Science of Finance at SFU and was paired up with Marissa for the mentorship program.  

 Congrats again, Marissa!!

 

 

Million Dollar Round Table & A Better Life Foundation

capital core financial

Flash back to December to Franco Caligiuri and Marissa Elliott donating $5,000 to A Better Life Foundation on behalf of the Million Dollar Round Table Canadian Charitable Foundation. The cheque was presented to ABLF founder Mark Brand during this month’s Greasy Spoon Supper Series at Save On Meats - an event created to raise awareness around hunger and homelessness on Vancouver’s East Side. Check out their campaign #BeingHungrySucks for more information.

#getinvolved

 

Capital Core hits the streets!

Capital Core Financial

Another Community Clean Up during our team meeting today!  

This week we removed 3 full bags of trash from the streets of Vancouver.  In addition to all the random pieces of rubbish, there is an astonishing amount of cigarette butts on the sidewalks.   You begin to realize how bad it is when you start picking them up one-by-one.

What can we do to help motivate people to dispose of their cigarettes in the trash? Would installing more public ashtrays be an effective solution? How does the City of Vancouver address this issue?

 

Community Clean Up!

 

 

 

This week Capital Core Financial took to the streets for another community clean up!

We strapped on our walking shoes and spent an hour sharing new year goals as we collected garbage from the streets of our local community.  What a great way to conduct our weekly team meeting!

Its one of the ways in which we contribute to Vancouver's Greenest City Initiative to become the Greenest City in the world by 2020!

A few of the CCF team posing with a worker from the City of Vancouver. He was excited to hear about what we were doing and offered to dispose of our bag of trash!

 

Back From Ethiopia

We are back from Ethiopia and want to thank all those who have supported the amazing initiative to bring clean water and quality education to the small village of Gareb Abdella.  The gentle and kind people of Ethiopia are genuinely grateful for your support!

Please take a moment to read the heartfelt post by Capital Core Financial co-founder Marissa Elliott.  Below she shares her experience of her two week adventure in Ethiopia...

“Coming back from Ethiopia with a very full heart ❤️

With my hubby Chris Elliott by my side and an amazing team of 16, it was a perfect adventure..

This pic captures the highlight of the trip for me. We went to visit the village that we supported last year and who we stayed and connected with on last years trip. I was all smiles and eyes full of tears in this pic, holding hands with Nigeste, a little girl I bonded strongly with on last years trip.

We were greeted by the children with huge smiles and open arms. There were so many familiar faces from last year that I wasn't sure if I would ever see again, it was such an emotional experience. I expected a few tears, but with all the sweet familiar faces-I was overwhelmed with tears and emotion. I held this little girl's hand so tight the whole time we were there. We visited the new school and the clean water well. It was so cool to see the impact access to education along with clean water had on a community. I felt so grateful to be part of such a project and felt so much emotion with the reconnection to these kids and the village.

The villages we support participate by raising a portion of the funds required as well. Witnessing how hard they work physically every single day, I'm blown away by their determination, resilience and success in raising the funds.

Every day we saw little boys- 3/4/5 years old herding goats, new mothers walking and holding their babies with a heavy jug of water they fetched tied to their back, +65 year old women climbing up a mountain with huge stacks of firewood tied to their back. AND every one of them we passed greeted us with huge smiles and joy. Lessons learned for sure..

Perspective is everything...

The endless mountains, the unreal sunrises and most importantly, the beautiful people, make this country a beautiful place, and a trip I won't soon forget. Thank you Run for Water and Peg Peters, Eyerusalem Abebe for the amazing organization and imagine1day and Scott Elliott for doing the amazing work and inspiring us to get on board and come along. And thank you to everyone who supported us in this project!

Till next time Ethiopia..”

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An Interview with Philip Burgess, founder of From The Bottom Up Foundation

              

Chris: What is From The Bottom Up Foundation?

Phil: From The Bottom Up Foundation is a non-profit foundation that provides diaper assistance to families in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. We collect and distribute diapers to our partnering agencies within the area. Unlike most diaper assistance programs that collect diapers and distribute them all at once to families in need, our efforts focus on eliminating the worry associated with diapers altogether, we do this by only accepting a family into our program if we can 100% provide diapers for their child until they are potty trained. In doing so, we can eliminate some of the health risks and financial worries associated with not having enough diapers. Here is one of our blog posts that highlights some of the risks of not having enough diapers.

                    

Chris: Can you explain to me your branding and image?

Phil: Vancouver's Downtown Eastside is located on the unceded Indigenous land belonging to the Coast Salish peoples, in appreciation of this we have incorporated the native dragonfly into our logo. The indigenous dragonfly symbolizes change and growth on the journey of self-realization, the type of change that fosters mental and emotional maturity. Given that a large amount of the Downtown Eastside's population is of indigenous descent, it was important for us to show our respect and honour these roots.

Chris: What is your primary objective/goal?

Phil: From The Bottom Up Foundation is different than other foundations providing assistance to lower income families within the DTES. We focus our efforts on the essential need for diapers, here is why:

  • Diapers are expensive and there are no other diaper assistance programs within Vancouver let alone a sustainable program.
  • Diapers, regardless of what social class you are a part of, are something that we all have needed and can relate to.
  • And most importantly, we believe that, regardless of your past, if there is a time to turn your life around, it is when you become a parent.

Ultimately, we are using diapers as a tool to build relationships with families at a time where they are susceptible and hopefully willing to change. Yes, our goals are ambitious but we believe they are absolutely attainable. Our team has accomplished a lot already through our partnerships with various organizations around the city (Ray-Cam Co-operative Centre, Sheway, BabyGoRound, etc.). These organizations have direct relationships with families living within the DTES and share the common goal of fostering the social, economic, health, and cultural well-being of these families. These trained and certified partnering organizations do the difficult job of identifying the families most in need through their existing relationships with these families

Our foundation is more than just your typical diaper bank. We continue to support these families once their children are out of diapers. For every box of diapers we donate to a child, we put away 10 percent of the cost of that box of diapers to go to that child at a later date. We think of it as a little savings fund that can go to a musical instrument, sports program, or something else that can support the child’s success. As we grow and the number of families we support increases, we aim to introduce more support programs that cover the areas of nutrition education for the parent and child, exercise and healthy living programs, and employment skills and counselling initiatives.

Chris: How and Why was BUF created? / What inspired you to start (or join) BUF?

Phil: I moved to Vancouver in 2013, like most new to the city, I was amazed by the beauty, cleanliness, and wealth that were instilled in the city. Growing up in Ontario, Vancouver was viewed as a far away oasis where nature and civilization grew hand in hand. I knew of Vancouver’s Downtown East Side and some of the programs and organizations operating to help those living there, but it was not until I saw it with my own eyes that I knew there was something seriously unbalanced. I’ll never forget my first bus ride down East Hastings Street where I saw a glimpse into the lives of those living on the street with mental health problems and drug addictions. I remember thinking how this epidemic could exist in the middle of one of the world’s most beautiful cities. At that moment, everything to do with the DTES became an obsession, especially helping the families living within it. However, it was a few years later, in November of 2015, after engaging more deeply and understanding some of the goals of the organizations operating within the DTES, that From The Bottom Up Foundation was created.

Chris: What was your first experience in the charitable sector?

Phil: Over the last 10 years, I have volunteered and fundraised for different initiatives but From The Bottom Up Foundation is my first real applied experience working in the non-profit sector.

Chris: What is so important about the work that you do?

Phil: At first glance, our efforts seem to be solely focused on something simple, a diaper. Something that all of us have experienced in our lifetime and, speaking for myself, took for granted. Can you imagine the idea of not being able to afford enough diapers for your baby? It would be horrible. However, providing diapers allows the families in our program, most often already dealing with multiple issues, to have one less thing to worry about. For me, it is about investing in the future generations in our society. Like everyone in the world, we do not get to decide who are parents are or what social class we are brought up in, it just happens. From The Bottom Up Foundation works extremely hard to make sure that both the children and the new parents living in the DTES get an equal opportunity to not only escape the poverty cycle but succeed in the costly city of Vancouver.

Chris: What inspired you to get involved in charitable work?

Phil: There are a number of reasons why I decided to get involved in this charitable work; the most obvious was the fact that I recognized a huge need that was not being fulfilled by any current organization in the city. I have always been intrigued by the Downtown Eastside, once I realized the number of children growing up in this area, I wanted to make sure I did my part in giving these children and their parents an equal opportunity to succeed. As a 25-year-old man without any children, I am not the person most people expect to be doing this type of work. But my goal is to foster success for these families starting from the bottom up, with diapers. I believe in this cause and I am lucky enough to have built a team who are willing to go down fighting for it.

Chris: What is it about helping people in need that feels good?

Phil: Personally, the feel-good aspect is just a fortunate byproduct of the good work and change we are trying to make for others. It is great to want to help people but if your motives are for you to “feel good” about it, you may loose momentum when the novelty wears off. For me, I am a firm believer that, although we are not all cut from the same piece of cloth everyone should be given a chance to succeed. Putting in time and effort to help families in need and provide to them with the necessities to succeed is a great feeling in itself.

I can only speak for the families I have had the privilege of working with but for me, the most common misconception is the idea that all parents living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside have drug problems. Yes, addiction is prevalent in this area but not everyone is an addict. We live in an extremely expensive city that most of us have made the decision to live in. For those who were born here or had to move here for other reasons, it can be extremely difficult to stay ahead and not fall into financial dilemmas. We do not ask the families coming into our program if they come from addiction; we simply try to improve their situation From The Bottom Up, quite literally.

Chris: Anything exciting on the horizon?

Phil: Yes, definitely! By the time that this information is shared with your reader base, we will have successfully provided over twelve thousand diapers to families living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. In addition, as we move into our 10th month in operations, we will be introducing Dental Care to the children in our program through a partnership with Vancouver Costal Health’s Children’s Dental Program. We have come an tremendously long way since our launch in January of this year and we are so grateful that other organizations are reaching out to us in hopes of contributing to our efforts. Like the expression, “it takes a village to raise a child’, we are well on our way growing the village that is making a positive impact on Vancouver’s families in need.

Chris: What are the most common misconceptions people have about single parents in need?

Phil: I can only speak for the families I have had the privilege of working with but for me, the most common misconception is the idea that all parents living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside have drug problems. Yes, addiction is prevalent in this area but not everyone is an addict. We live in an extremely expensive city that most of us have made the decision to live in. For those who were born here or had to move here for other reasons, it can be extremely difficult to stay ahead and not fall into financial dilemmas. We do not ask the families coming into our program if they come from addiction; we simply try to improve their situation From The Bottom Up, quite literally. 

Chris: What advice would you give to someone that is interested in getting involved in charitable work?

Phil: Like in anything, find a cause that you believe in and are passionate about. Only then will you be motivated and excited enough to keep going when times are tough. It is also extremely important to understand your goals and to stick to those goals. Even when you are trying to make a positive impact in the world, you will still encounter people that will criticize your efforts. For us, it was the issue around the environmental impact of disposable diapers. YES, we know that cloth diapers are more environmentally friendly and YES we know that disposable diapers are not great for the environment but our goal was not to make sure everyone agreed with how and what we were doing. Our goal is to help every family possible by providing a sustainable solution to their diaper need. I believe it is crucial to stand up for what you believe in, if you don’t, the public will see this and probably take you less seriously as a philanthropist. Be true to yourself and true to your goal.

Chris: Most people want to get involved in some form of charitable work, but it often gets pushed to the side.  Why do you think that is?

Phil: We all live busy lives. We all have bills to pay. For most people who say they want to get involved, help them, empower them and encourage them. It’s completely fine if you don’t end up getting involved, but don’t talk about doing it if you’re not going to. Do you think it’s ironic that some of the wealthiest people in the world, like Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, built their empires up before donating a majority of it to different humanitarian causes? Do you think their intentions were to make billions of dollars to eventually give it away? Who knows, but if you take anything away from this, it is that you do not need millions of dollars to make an impact for someone else. A great friend of mine once told me that no one has ever gone broke from giving. As long as you have a vision and a passion, you can make a huge difference in this world.

Chris: How can the residents of Vancouver help BUF?

Phil: Our foundation is always looking for like-minded individuals to join our efforts in increasing our awareness in and around Vancouver. Like most non-profits, a large portion of our time is spent on generating donations to our cause. Without it, we would not be able to sustain the support for current families in our program nor bring on additional families each and every month. The best part about our cause is that, although financial donations ensure that we purchase the proper sizes of diapers, we also collect any loose, opened or new packages of diapers to provide to the families in our program. So if you are a parent and have any leftover sizes, please donate them to our cause. If you would like to make a financial donation, please visit our website www.bottomsupfoundation.com to donate. If you are a working professional and believe that our cause is something that you, your friends or your colleagues would support, email us and we will come in, give a presentation and explain to you in more detail our current impact and the bright future we have for the families of Vancouver’s DTES.

Chris: Where can someone contact you if they want to get involved with BUF?

Phil: The best way to get in contact would be to give us a call at 778-229-7445 or email us at info@bottomsupfoundation.com. We have all of the social media channels as well if you prefer to contact us that way (facebook, twitter, and Instagram) or you can visit us at our website www.bottomsupfoundation.com

Kids Up Front Foundation with Shelly Leonhardt

This week on the Inspired Blog we feature Kids Up Front, a charitable organization that redistributes unused tickets to various sporting events, recreational facilities and learning centres fairly and efficiently through its partnerships with local child-serving charitable agencies.

Hi Shelly! Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us!

 

What is the Kids Up Front Foundation all about?   

We are a non-profit organization that believes that all children should be inspired through the power of a performance.  Kids Up Front Foundation (Vancouver) provides access to arts, culture, sports and recreation for children who otherwise would not have the opportunity. By distributing unused event tickets and creating special events to help heal, bond and unite, Kids Up Front ensures that marginalized and at risk children and youth are provided equal, inclusive access to entertaining, inspiring events and activities.

Do you feel like Kids Up Front makes a measurable difference in the lives of our community?

Absolutely.  Since opening in Vancouver in 2004, Kids Up Front has provided more than 300,000 experiences to children and their guardians across Greater Vancouver, worth more than $10 million. In 2015 alone, Kids Up Front provided 33,500 life-changing experiences, instantly brightening children’s lives, instilling a sense of belonging and validating their hopes that their dreams can be turned into reality.

Could you tell us a bit about the collaborative approach that Kids Up Front takes?

Through engaged partnerships, Kids Up Front works collaboratively with 120 registered agencies throughout Metro Vancouver to make sure a ticket never goes to waste and that it gets into the hands of vulnerable children and youth facing multiple barriers. While our partner agencies provide the basics – food, clothing, shelter, counselling and support - Kids Up Front provides the much needed but often neglected, nourishment of spirit, essential for healthy kids, inside and out.

What is the primary objective at Kids Up Front?

To provide wonderful happy experiences for under-served kids and families throughout Metro Vancouver and the lower mainland.

What are under-served kids?  

Kids that are under-served for one reason or another – it could be due to illness of them or their guardians; they could be new immigrants; they could be without parents; they could be living in an abusive environment at home.

How was Kids Up Front created?  

This is a quote from our founder -  “In the fall of 1999, a friend and I sat in the front row of a world-class event on complimentary tickets. We had a great time. I looked around and saw so many empty seats and I knew that those seats had been paid for and that those tickets were probably in somebody’s desk. I was determined to fill those seats with kids and their families that wouldn’t normally have a chance to go. I pulled a few of my friends together, and we incorporated the Kids Up Front Foundation of Alberta. Simple concept. Powerful results! Vicki, my wife, and I now live in Vancouver. I am still very active in the governance of the Kids Up Front Foundation (Vancouver)”. – John Dalziel, Founder Director/

What is the best part about working with Kids Up Front?  

Seeing the excited and happy faces of the kids that get to attend a professional game or a ballet, etc.  It can be life-changing for them.

What inspired you to get involved in charitable work?  

I want to try to make a difference in someone’s world.

What do you feel the Government  could be doing to help children in Canada?  

Be more financially supportive of the non-profit agencies (charities) that are already helping kids.

Describe the feeling you get when you have helped someone in need.  

I feel a sense of satisfaction, in knowing that I might have made a “difference” in someone’s life.  I feel that I am very blessed and if I can brighten someone’s day for a couple of minutes, hours, days, etc. then that feels good

Whats next for Kids Up Front?  

We are planning our major (annual) Fundraising Gala on November 3rd at the Fairmont Waterfront.  We have a lovely dinner, with a live & silent auction and some wonderful entertainment.

What advice would you give to someone that is interested in getting involved in charitable work?  

The work can be challenging with long hours, but very rewarding in the end.

Most people want to get involved in some form of charitable work, but it often gets pushed to the side.  Why do you think that is?  

I think it is because we are already stretched pretty thin, with work, families, exercise, hobbies, etc. that it might seem that there is no time for it; when in actuality, charities don’t always need a lot of your time, but perhaps your expertise in some area.

How can the residents of Vancouver help Kids Up Front?  

Vancouver residents can help Kids Up Front by donating event tickets that they are not going to use and by making financial donations to Kids Up Front.  We get very few grants and therefore have to always fundraise to continue to put smiles on Kid’s faces.   

Where can someone contact you if they wants to get involved with Kids Up Front?  

They may connect through our website – www.kidsupfrontvancouver.com or by email at info@kidsupfrontvancouver.com or by phone at 604-266-5437.

On behalf of the team at Capital Core Financial and all BC residents - thank you so much for your time and the amazing work you do!

KidSafe Project: An Interview with Gerhard Maynard

Last week we had a chance to speak with the executive director of the KidSafe Project, Gerhard Maynard!

KidSafe provides nurturing safe havens for vulnerable inner-city children when schools are traditionally closed.

 

What is KidSafe all about?

Gerhard: KidSafe provides service to over 450 children during Winter, Spring, and Summer Break through it’s break-time and transition to high-school programming.

 

What is the primary objective of KidSafe?

Gerhard: The primary objective of KidSafe is to provide a safe place for children to go where they have access to caring adults, a full day’s nutrition, and engaging recreational and socio-emotional programming.

 

How would you define "vulnerable inner-city children"?

Gerhard: Vulnerable is a definition used broadly to refer to children and or youth who may be exposed to factors such as poverty, mental-health concerns, bullying, isolation, trauma, or may be struggling with any number of social and emotional challenges in their lives. Children who are deemed vulnerable are usually facing one or more of the above mentioned factors.   

 

Why was KidSafe created? 

Gerhard: KidSafe Project Society is a registered Canadian children's charity based in Vancouver, British Columbia. We were founded in 1993 by a group of concerned citizens, The Vancouver Sun newspaper and public school teachers in response to a local tragedy that saw a young child assaulted and abandoned when left home alone during school break. KidSafe was formed when the community galvanized into action and united with the mission of providing nurturing safe havens for vulnerable inner-city children when schools are traditionally closed.

 

What was your first experience in the charitable sector?

Gerhard: My first major experience working in the Charitable Sector was with the Royal Conservatory of Music managing a large initiative in BC called Learning Through the Arts in which we worked alongside teachers to deliver the non-arts curriculum using the arts a way of engaging students and supporting them in finding academic success.

 

What is so important about the work that you do?

Gerhard: Supporting some of the most vulnerable children in our community ensuring that their basic needs for nutrition and care are met while also helping to ensure they can access opportunities that exist for them in their community.  Nelson Mandela once said that the true character of a society is judged on how it treats its children. I like to believe that as Canadians we place an incredible importance on the wellbeing of children and that means providing them with the service and supports they need to be successful despite the circumstances they may face in life. It has become widely accepted that not doing so comes at a tremendous cost to our society in added costs to our health care and criminal justice systems. The late Clyde Hertzman, a respected early learning scientist, explained the concept of early interventions and supports as laying the foundation of a house. It is much easier to provide the service and supports to help children at the foundational level than to spend a lifetime trying to course correct and repair a leaky condo.     

 

What inspired you to get involved in charitable work?

Gerhard: I think I have to give credit to my mom for modelling the importance of being involved in your community and giving back. I have spent the bulk of my career to date working in some form of public service.  I think that’s because we were taught from an early age that if you have the opportunity to contribute and make a difference you should and if you have the opportunity to extend a hand to people who may not have had the same opportunities as you have in your life you should extend it. While I didn’t come from a background of wealth or privilege I always had the core fundamental building blocks that I needed to be successful and equality of opportunity was an important concept to practice and strive for.  

 

Was there a defining moment in your career/life that set you on the path to helping others?

Gerhard: I’d like to say there was but I truly can’t think of one moment that stands out alone. For me It has probably been a series of moments, people, and the workings of a great many others that moved me along the way. I am always infinitely more inspired by the work that others have done.

 

What is it about helping people in need that feels good?

Gerhard: I have to say that the idea of helping has always implied for me a one way exchange in which there is ‘helper’ and a ‘helped’ and I like to say I experience that quite differently. I have heard stories of resilient and amazing single parents, inspiring teachers and school based workers, some families who have moved through significant mental health challenges, those that have come out through the other side of significant addictions and trauma, and children who experience things that no child should ever have to experience. I also say that these are some of the most resilient, amazing, inspiring, honest, humble, and heartfelt people that I have ever had the privilege to know.  It’s those lived experiences and the way in which many of these individuals shine in the face of adversity that often leaves me and many of my colleagues feeling that we are the ones that have been ‘helped’. We have a lot to learn from some of the most marginalized and vulnerable people in our society if we take the opportunity to listen.

 

What do you feel the Government of Canada could be doing to help vulnerable inner-city children?

Gerhard: I get asked this question often and to be honest there are many great people throughout the City and the Province who work everyday to support the well-being of vulnerable children that it makes it a difficult question to answer. If I could wave a magic wand I guess my ask would be that children; vulnerable children and youth in particular be at the forefront of our agenda no matter which party is in power and that we have a strategy for how we approach the work that is both thoughtful and represents a commitment to advancing and improving the lives of children in British Columbia.  While I appreciate there are always differences between parties and partisan issues the wellbeing of children in our Province should always be something that all parties are committed to advancing and improving.


What are the most common misconceptions (if any) people have about vulnerable inner-city children?

Gerhard: I think that the most common misconception is that vulnerable inner city children are somehow different from other children. At the end of the day they have the same basic human needs for love and belonging, they are facing struggles, they experience significant challenges, need support, but they are some of the most resourceful, resilient, and amazing kids that you will ever have the opportunity to meet.

 

What does your ideal British Columbia look like?

Gerhard: We say at KidSafe that our vision is that “All children live in the community with the inspiration and support they need to be healthy contributing citizens.”

 

Anything new and exciting on the horizon at KidSafe?

Gerhard: We are going to be opening up a new site this year which will serve approximately 50 more children so stay tuned.

 

What advice would you give to someone that is interested in getting involved in charitable work?

Gerhard: I would encourage anyone who has an interest in the sector to pursue it. If it is your passion…do it….and find a way to get involved. In a world where technology is changing the way in which we interact with one another I argue that we are not more connected we’re less connected. I think charitable work is a way to re-engage with our purpose, our raison d’etre, and to be connected.

 

Most people want to get involved in some form of charitable work, but it often gets pushed to the side.  Why do you think that is?

Gerhard: I think it’s human nature. We’re all busy people—we want to help but sometimes we don’t know how and sometimes to be fair we haven’t been asked.

 

How can the residents of Vancouver help KidSafe?

Gerhard: There are two key ways that we need support and both are equally important. Donating financially and/or giving with your time are two ways you can help. We’d ask that if you can do either of these things to reach out to us via email or phone.

Where can someone contact you if they wants to get involved with KidSafe?

www.kidsafe.ca or 604-713-4467

Thank you so much for your time, Gerhard!! And thank you to KidSafe for doing such amazing work!